Multidimensional Poverty: India is Home to 75% of World's Population Deprived of Basic Living Standards

Over 75% of the world's poor deprived of basic living standards (nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing) live in India compared to 4.6% in Bangladesh and 4.1% in Pakistan, according to a recently released OPHI/UNDP report on multidimensional poverty.  Here's what the report says: "More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators (nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing). Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile". 

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2022. Source: OPHI/UNDP
Income Poverty in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Source: Our World...

The UNDP poverty report shows that the income poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) in Pakistan is 3.6% while it is 22.5% in India and 14.3% in Bangladesh. In terms of the population vulnerable to multidimensional poverty, Pakistan (12.9%) does better than Bangladesh (18.2%) and India (18.7%)  However, Pakistan fares worse than India and Bangladesh in multiple dimensions of poverty. The headline multidimensional poverty (MPI) figure for Pakistan (0.198) is worse than for Bangladesh (0.104) and India (0.069). This is primarily due to the education and health deficits in Pakistan. Adults with fewer than 6 years of schooling are considered multidimensionally poor by OPHI/UNDP.  Income poverty is not included in the MPI calculations. The data used by OHP/UNDP for MPI calculation is from years 2017/18 for Pakistan and from years 2019/2021 for India. 

Multidimensional Poverty in South Asia. Source: UNDP

The Indian government's reported multidimensional poverty rate of 25.01% is much higher than the OPHI/UNDP estimate of 16.4%. NITI Ayog report released in November 2021 says: "India’s national MPI identifies 25.01 percent of the population as multidimensionally poor".

Multidimensional Poverty in India. Source: NITI Ayog via IIP

Earlier this year,  Global Hunger Index 2022 reported that  India ranks 107th for hunger among 121 nations. The nation fares worse than all of its South Asian neighbors except for war-torn Afghanistan ranked 109, according to the the report. Sri Lanka ranks 64, Nepal 81, Bangladesh 84 and Pakistan 99. India and Pakistan have levels of hunger that are considered serious. Both have slipped on the hunger charts from 2021 when India was ranked 101 and Pakistan 92.  Seventeen countries, including Bosnia, China, Kuwait, Turkey and UAE, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 28, 2023 at 6:40pm

India slipping on way to meeting UN-mandated SDGs: CSE-DTE

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/india-slipping-o...

https://dashboards.sdgindex.org/profiles/pakistan

https://dashboards.sdgindex.org/profiles/india

Country (India) facing challenges in 11 of the 17 SDGs; states’ individual performances ranked as well (Pakistan facing challenges in 12 of 17 SDGs)


India has been stumbling over meeting the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG). Over the past five years, it has slipped nine spots — ranking 121 in 2022, according to an annual report by Down To Earth, the fortnightly magazine by New Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment.

India is behind its neighbours Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh and Pakistan was lagging close behind at 125. The deadline for the goals is 2030, which is looming ahead — but India is facing challenges in 11 of the 17 SDGs, according to State of India’s Environment 2023 (SoE), released on March 23, 2023.

The 2023 report covered an extensive gamut of subject assessments, ranging from climate change, agriculture and industry to water, plastics, forests and biodiversity.

The report looked at states’ performances as well. “An alarmingly high number of states have slipped in their performance of SDGs 4, 8, 9, 10 and 15,” said Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of DTE and one of the editors of the SoE.

These numbers refer to the goals on quality education; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; and life on land, respectively.

In SDG 4 (quality education), for instance, 17 states saw a dip in their performance between 2019 and 2020. SDG 15 — life on land — has 25 states performing below average.

The goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) has become more distant for 15 states, while 22 states are slipping in SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).

Concurrently, there has been improvement by states as well in several goals — SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 12 (responsible consumption and production).

“All the data that we are using here is from credible, and in many cases, from the government’s own sources,” said Mahapatra.

DTE’s research team says that India’s ranking has been taken from the SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2022 by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the time period 2017-2022.

The state-level ranking is based on the government think tank NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index Report 2020-21. Here, the DTE team has analysed the 2020 and 2019 scores.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 7, 2023 at 2:30pm

Adani’s business empire may or may not turn out to be the largest con in corporate history. But far greater dangers to civic morality, let alone democracy and global peace, are posed by those peddling the gigantic hoax of Modi’s India. Pankaj Mishra


https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n08/pankaj-mishra/the-big-con


Modi has counted on sympathetic journalists and financial speculators in the West to cast a seductive veil over his version of political economy, environmental activism and history. ‘I’d bet on Modi to transform India, all of it, including the newly integrated Kashmir region,’ Roger Cohen of the New York Times wrote in 2019 after Modi annulled the special constitutional status of India’s only Muslim-majority state and imposed a months-long curfew. The CEO of McKinsey recently said that we may be living in ‘India’s century’. Praising Modi for ‘implementing policies that have modernised India and supported its growth’, the economist and investor Nouriel Roubini described the country as a ‘vibrant democracy’. But it is becoming harder to evade the bleak reality that, despoiled by a venal, inept and tyrannical regime, ‘India is broken’ – the title of a disturbing new book by the economic historian Ashoka Mody.

The number of Indians who sleep hungry rose from 190 million in 2018 to 350 million in 2022, and malnutrition and malnourishment killed nearly two-thirds of the children who died under the age of five last year. At the same time, Modi’s cronies have flourished. The Economist estimates that the share of billionaire wealth in India derived from cronyism has risen from 29 per cent to 43 per cent in six years. According to a recent Oxfam report, India’s richest 1 per cent owned more than 40.5 per cent of its total wealth in 2021 – a statistic that the notorious oligarchies of Russia and Latin America never came close to matching. The new Indian plutocracy owes its swift ascent to Modi, and he has audaciously clarified the quid pro quo. Under the ‘electoral bond’ scheme he introduced in 2017, any business or special interest group can give unlimited sums of money to his party while keeping the transaction hidden from public scrutiny.

Modi also ensures his hegemony by forging a public sphere in which sycophancy is rewarded and dissent harshly punished. Adani last year took over NDTV, a television news channel that had displayed a rare immunity to hate speech, fake news and conspiracy theories. Human Rights Watch has detailed a broad onslaught on democratic rights: ‘the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government used abusive and discriminatory policies to repress Muslims and other minorities’ and ‘arrested activists, journalists and other critics of the government on politically motivated criminal charges, including of terrorism’. Last month, as the BJP’s official spokesperson denounced the BBC as ‘the most corrupt organisation in the world’, tax officials launched a sixty-hour raid on the broadcaster’s Indian offices in apparent retaliation for a two-part documentary on Modi’s role in anti-Muslim violence.

Also last month, the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was expelled from parliament to put a stop to his persistent questions about Modi’s relationship with Adani. Such actions are at last provoking closer international scrutiny of what Modi calls the ‘mother of democracy’, though they haven’t come as a shock to those who have long known about Modi’s lifelong allegiance to Rashtriya​ Swayamsevak Sangh, an organisation that was explicitly inspired by European fascist movements and culpable in the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi in 1948.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 8, 2023 at 10:41am

Why Prof. Ashoka Mody Believes India is Broken | Princeton International

https://international.princeton.edu/news/why-prof-ashoka-mody-belie...


I have long felt that that upbeat story is completely divorced from the lived reality of the vast majority of Indians. I wanted to write a book about that lived reality, about jobs, education, healthcare, the cities Indians live in, the justice system they encounter, the air they breathe, the water they drink. And when you look at India through that lens of that reality, the progress is halting at best and far removed from the aspirations of people and what might have been. India is broken in the sense that for hundreds of millions of Indians, jobs are hard to get, and education and health care are poor. The justice system is coercive and brutal. The air quality remains extraordinarily poor. The rivers are dying. And it's not clear that things are going to get better. Underlying that brokenness, social norms and public accountability have eroded to a point where India seems to be in a catch-22: Unaccountable politicians do not impose accountability on themselves; therefore, no one has an incentive to impose accountability for policy priorities that might benefit large numbers of people. The elite are happy in their gated first-world communities. They shrug their shoulders and say, “What exactly is the problem?”

———

Prof Ashoka Mody interviewed by Barkha Dutt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8SEmML71KQ

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 18, 2023 at 9:24pm

Standard of Living by Country | Quality of Life by Country 2023


Numbeo Quality of Life

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/standard-of-livi...


Finland 178.5

Oman 168.82

Japan 164.06

US 163.6

UK 156.94

UAE 156.94

Morocco 105.04

China 103.16

India 103

Pakistan 102.15

Russia 97.91

Egypt 87.21

Kenya 76.92

Bangladesh 64.54

Iran 63.6

Nigeria 54.71

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 21, 2023 at 4:11pm

Excerpt of "India is Broken" by Princeton Economist Ashoka Mody

Just as Modi’s demonetization and GST rollout heightened India’s job challenge, the policies likely also increased Indian poverty. On poverty, the data fog is even greater than that for GDP and employment. The only reliable estimate of those below the poverty line is from a 2011–2012 survey. An embarrassing official report for 2017–2018 appeared in late 2019, which the Modi government promptly threw out. The data, however, leaked. Using that data, S. Subramanian, a member of the World Bank’s Commission on Global Poverty, estimated the extent of Indian poverty, as defined by the Indian Planning Commission’s subsistence norm of 32 rupees (at 2011–2012 prices) per person per day in rural areas. The share of rural residents living in poverty had risen from 31 percent in 2011–2012 to 35 percent in 2017–2018. In starker terms, 320 million rural Indians lived in severe poverty in 2017–2018, which was fifty million more than just six years earlier. And in 2017–2018, 160 million rural Indians lived barely above the poverty line—sixty million more than six years earlier—spending between 32 and 38 rupees a day on their consumption needs. The Modi government insisted that the survey’s estimates of consumption were not credible because they were much lower than the per capita consumption implied by National Account Statistics. This was an old and unfounded argument. National account data in all countries show higher consumption than survey data, presumably because people underreport their consumption in surveys. But the underreporting is concentrated in richer households and does not influence the poverty estimates. Additionally, India’s national account statistics were suspect. Indian authorities did not directly measure the size of the informal sector; instead, they assumed it moved in tandem with the formal sector. After the Modi-inflicted blows to the informal sector, this procedure likely significantly overstated the income and consumption of those in the informal sector.

Mody, Ashoka. India Is Broken (pp. 352-353). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 21, 2023 at 6:05pm

India is open defecation free. Not near where the prime minister lives

https://www.newslaundry.com/2022/11/22/india-is-open-defecation-fre...

Every day, Suman, 32, wakes up early, fills up a lota or a plastic water bottle and walks out to the forest adjoining the Kirby Place slum in central Delhi to relieve herself. As do hundreds of men, women and children from the slum. Kirby Place is supposed to be “open defecation free”, like, according to a declaration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Gandhi Jayanti in 2019, all the rest of India.

Kirby Place is barely 10 km from the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi.

The slum is under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Cantonment Board, a municipal body administratively controlled by the defence ministry’s Directorate General Defence Estates. Delhi Cantt is not merely open defecation free, the website of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan declares, all its community and public toilets are “functional and well maintained” and its sewage is “safely managed and treated”.

It’s a far bleaker reality on the ground, however.

Although the Delhi Cantonment Board has stationed mobile toilets in Kirby Place, most aren’t functional or usable, compelling hundreds of nearly 3,000 residents to use the outdoors.

“Only a few of the toilets are operational. So the people have no option but to go to the jungle,” said Bhanu Prasad, 40, a resident who works as a security guard in South Delhi.

The mobile toilets are also difficult to access. Most lack stairs and even doors. “How can women climb up there?” Bhanu Prasad asked, pointing to a mobile toilet, a minitruck with 10 toilet seats. The doorway is nearly four feet from the ground.

“The stairs get stolen and we all have to suffer,” Bhanu Prasad said. “We don’t know who steals them.”

Another problem is the lack of cleanliness. “The condition of the toilets isn’t really good. They are often too dirty and there are no stairs to go up,” said Suman, a housewife whose shanty is barely 50 metres from a mobile toilet station. “So, we all go to the jungle.”

Which is no less a challenge, said Suman’s neighbour Roshan, 35. “Everyone goes to defecate in the jungle. So it has become very dirty and stinky. But what else can we do?” said Roshan, who doesn’t use a second name like most people in the slum, the majority of whom she said belong to “the downtrodden castes”.

Parvati, another neighbour, said that sometimes men sit near where women go, “making it weird and uncomfortable”. “So we try to go as early as possible,” she added.

The Kirby Place slum as well as the neighbouring Brar Square are built on defence ministry land, so most residents aren’t allowed to raise any concrete structures, including toilets. “We do not even have electricity here,” said Umma, another neighbour of Suman’s.

A Delhi Cantonment Board official who helps oversee its sanitation work confirmed that “no concrete structures can be built in the area”. “So, we provide them mobile toilets,” added the official, who asked to speak anonymously because he wasn’t authorised to talk to the press.

There are 16 mobile toilet vans in Kirby Place, six in Brar Square, and one each in Naraina and Poultry Farm nearby, the official said. Five of them aren’t functional and a couple are used by the army. Newslaundry, however, found 20 toilet vans in Kirby Place and four in Brar Square. In Kirby Place, the vans are stationed at two spots. At one spot, only one of the six vans are usable. “Five vans are unusable. Some do not have doors and storage tanks leak,” said Rajendra, a Kirby Place resident. At the other spot, Newslaundry found nine of the 14 vans to be functional.

“Five of the vans at this spot have not been in use for months. So, I have to clean only one,” said Pinto, a sanitation worker who cleans the toilets.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 21, 2023 at 6:08pm

The Economist exposes Modi's fudged numbers to show lower multidimensional poverty.

It deals with the definitions used by the Modi government......such as the definitions of village electrification and open defecation.


Modi government claims the entire village is electrified with "only public buildings and 10% of households" electrified.


Modi gov't also calls villages "open defecation free" even when millions of people are still defecating in the open.

All of this false "multi-dimensional" data manufactured by Modi gov't is used by the UNDP report. That's reflected in a dramatic reduction in India's "multidimensional poverty" on Modi's watch.

https://www.economist.com/asia/2023/01/05/postponing-indias-census-...

"Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such"

"And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data"

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 22, 2023 at 9:59am

Will This Be the ‘Indian Century’? Four Key Questions
By Alex Travelli and Weiyi Cai


https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/04/19/world/asia/india-chi...

India is a country primed to work. More than two-thirds of all Indians are between the ages of 15 and 59. The country’s ratio of children and retirees to working-age adults is remarkably low.

But this opportunity comes with huge challenges. That “demographic dividend” could instead become something like a disaster. In some recent years, India has squeaked past China to claim the title of fastest-growing major economy. But it has never expanded fast enough to produce sufficient formal employment for everyone. The country needs about nine million new jobs every year just to keep pace; the annual shortfall helps relegate many to India’s old standby, agricultural work.

Most people in India lack the means to be “unemployed” – in the work force but without a job. Underemployment is the more discreet danger. Wages have been stagnant for eight years, according to an analysis by Jean Drèze, an economist at Delhi University. Economic growth without an equivalent increase in jobs makes India’s massively unequal society even more so, raising the potential for unrest.

India has one of the world’s lowest rates of formal employment for women: about one in five. China’s is almost double that rate, higher than the United States’ and the world average. An economy cannot meet its potential when it draws on the contributions of so few women.

Also worrisome, the rate has actually declined in India even as most of the country’s economic conditions have improved. The explanation favored by economists is that the jobs most women take are so poorly paid that as soon as a family can do without the extra income, wives stop working outside the home.

That does not mean women in India do not work hard. They are a visible presence in the 41 percent of society that is still in agriculture, and they carry nearly all of the household burdens. But so long as these women remain outside the formal work force, they cannot enter its most productive categories, in industry and services. Improved access to family planning, better education, efforts to change societal attitudes and measures to ensure women’s safety could help more women take on formal work.


--------


India’s economic story, however it turns out, will not be a repetition of China’s. There are many ways in which India can rise, especially with industrial manufacturing no longer occupying the central role in the world economy that it once did.

Services now make up a huge and exciting part of the Indian economy, augmented by a low-cost digital infrastructure that India developed on its own. Other glimmers are also emerging: Chip makers are looking to India as a high-end substitute for China; online services are allowing millions of young Indians to work abroad without leaving home; and even life in India’s villages is becoming more urbanized by the year.

The only certainty about the new biggest country in the world is that it will be unlike any that came before it.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 22, 2023 at 10:00am

No census in #India. No one knows for sure how many Indians are there today, how many have #jobs, do they have access to #food, #healthcare and #sanitation and what is their level of #education? Is #Modi government lying about its achievements? https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2023-04-20/india-has-the...


This week, the United Nations informed the world that India was now its most populous nation. According to the UN, there are now 1.428 billion people in India, as opposed to a mere 1.426 billion in China. When asked about this, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson sounded dismissive: “I want to tell you that population dividend does not depend on quantity but also quality.”

-----


In 2020, however, pandemic-hit India postponed the census and claimed at first it would shift online — as was tried in the US, for example. Yet things have returned to normal, in India as elsewhere, and there’s no sign of preparations for a census, online or off.

India’s current government has a somewhat difficult relationship with data. Various surveys and calculations, from the national income accounts to household consumption patterns and jobs data, have been cancelled or reviewed over the past seven years.

This census was set to be even more politically explosive. In famously diverse India, the census provides the last word on the relative sizes of various groups. And those numbers don’t just determine their voting power in democratic India, but also the distribution of welfare and public services. Without an accurate census, Indian policymakers are fumbling in the dark.



Unfortunately, the demographic composition of Indians — what caste they were born into, where they live, and what religion they profess — is now exceptionally controversial.

Consider caste, for example. Not since 1931 has India determined the exact caste composition of its population. And yet our huge affirmative action system — with job and educational quotas earmarked for various caste groups — is based on that data. Any big shifts in the numbers would certainly impact caste-based political mobilization, and the government is unwilling to do the counting.

Then there’s religion. If minorities’ numbers have increased “too much,” there would be an outcry from the right-wing; if they haven’t, it becomes harder for politicians to tell Hindus that they are in demographic danger.

---


Even more potentially problematic are the numbers for language groups and state origins. India is a country of two halves: one with a rapidly growing population, and the other aging just as rapidly. By 2041, according to government estimates, the northern state of Bihar will have added 50 million people to its strength of 104 million in the 2011 Census. The southern state of Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, will have begun to shrink. Worse, the shrinking states are mostly ruled by strong regional parties, don’t speak the same language as the north, and are much richer.

New population numbers may mean that these states’ share of seats in the national parliament will decline, leaving them with little voice in New Delhi’s decisions. Inter-regional transfers in India, already high, will increase. One state finance minister has complained that sending local taxes north is “like throwing money down the well.”

Finally, there’s employment. India has no reliable data about how many jobs are being created for its hundreds of millions of young people. Two government surveys that estimated unemployment were shut down in 2017 and 2018. But the 2011 Census did tell us that 28% of households had somebody “seeking or available for work,” and that there were 47 million unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 24, a youth unemployment rate of 20%. If that rate has increased, it would be very bad news for a government that pitches itself to aspirational, young India.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 27, 2023 at 7:51am

Why #India will continue to lag behind #China as a global #economic power. Unlike China, India had no #revolution: its old power structures & vested interests prevent change. Plus lack of investment in #education, #health, #infrastructure. #Modi #BJP
https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3221803/why-india-will...

by David Dodwell

a further factor has been America’s remorseless efforts to slow China’s rise, and to reduce the ever-widening range of Chinese goods on which US manufacturers and consumers have come to rely. Every attempt to devise a credible decoupling, diversification or derisking strategy points Joe Biden’s team inevitably to India – the only economy with a big enough market and workforce to develop the economies of scale needed to have a hope of competing against China.
But India, for more than 40 years, has remained a miracle about to happen. Back in the 1980s, along with thousands of other Western companies, my then-employer the Financial Times was wrestling with how best to focus its Asian expansion plans: prioritise Hong Kong, focused on the China market, or in Mumbai, focused on India?

For FT bosses, the answer was obvious: India was the world’s largest English-speaking market, the world’s most populous democracy, and home to one of the world’s largest equity markets. It also had long-standing links with Britain.
Arguments that China’s leadership was far more pragmatic and seriously committed to opening up to international trade and investment, with the foundations of an urban-industrial psychology that contrasted with India’s profoundly rural-agrarian mindset, were brushed aside. To the best of my knowledge, the FT is still battling to publish in India.

My deep doubt that India can become a top-table power that might serve as a democratic counterweight to China was forged in the 1970s by social scientist Barrington Moore’s Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.
In asking why India failed to succumb to a Marxist revolution after independence in 1947, while China emerged under Mao Zedong as a radically transformed Marxist power, Moore identified a wide range of powerful inertial forces in India that prevented revolution and shackled economic change – and continue to do so even today.
Perhaps most important were the rural power structures cemented around caste, which still exert more influence over social and economic development than most economists recognise.

In China, revolution swept away ancient power structures, entrenched corrupt networks and ossified vested interests. Corrupt networks could regrow but the inertial undergrowth that had for a century choked change in China had been cleared, opening the country to a potential for change.
The absence of revolution in India left in place existing power structures and long-standing vested interests, along with the corruption they nurtured, blocking the radical political or economic changes that turbocharged China’s economic growth from the late 1970s. Corruption remains a scourge in India and a nagging obstacle to growth.

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